DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Relatives of an Ohio couple who died at a nursing home 11 hours apart on the same day said their love story’s ending reflects their devotion over 65 years of marriage.
Harold and Ruth Knapke died in their shared room on Aug. 11, days before their 66th anniversary, The Dayton Daily News reported. He was 91, she was 89.
The couple’s daughters said they believe their father willed himself to stay by his wife’s side despite failing health until they could take the next step in their journey together. He went first — his children saw it as his “final act of love” — and she followed.
“We believe he wanted to accompany her out of this life and into the next one, and he did,” daughter Margaret Knapke said.
The couple had known each other as children and began their courtship as pen pals while Harold, known as “Doc,” served in the Army during World War II. Ruth would later joke: “I let him chase me until I caught him!”